construction workers with safety glasses

Outdoor eye protection: How to select protective sunglasses

Sunny weather puts specific requirements on personal protective equipment worn when working outdoors. Workwear made of lighter materials, airier shoes and protective headgear increase the comfort of employees. High-quality work glasses with tinted lenses or eyepieces play a major role in protecting eye health against ultraviolet radiation. But do you know how to select the right sunglasses for work?

 

The following rules of thumb apply when choosing safety goggles:

Identify the risk

  • Do you need mechanical protection against dust, shocks or other solid particles? 

  • For thermal risks, choose goggles that protect against hot liquids, sparks and flames. 

  • When there are chemical and biological risks involved, eyes should be protected against acids and solvents. 

  • Ultraviolet (UV) and infrared radiation can come from welding, soldering, bright light, lasers and sunlight. 

Consider the environment. In what environment will you be working? Indoors or outdoors?

Properties of the glasses. What features do you expect from them? Do they have to be resistant to scratching, fogging or UV radiation? 

What type do you need? Should you be wearing outer cover “visitor” safety glasses, protective glasses or goggles, so closed glasses?

 

Eye protection and accessories

Why is eye protection in summer critical? 

The reason is exposure to ultraviolet radiation while working outside. Unfiltered UV radiation is dangerous both to the skin and to the eyes. If eyes are exposed to unfiltered UV radiation, they may get irritated with conjunctivitis, get red or tear. In the worst case, vision can be damaged by cataracts, retinal degeneration or blindness. 

sun protection glasses PPE

Did you know that

eyes are up to 20 times more sensitive to UV radiation than skin? So, keep yourself safe, even if you will be spending little time in the sun, with high-quality work goggles that provide the best protection against UV. 

Also bear in mind that staff wearing UV-filtered safety goggles will not be blinded by the sun’s rays, will be better focused on the job at hand and the probability of injury will be reduced.

How to protect your eyes from UV radiation? 

Because ordinary work goggles with no UV filter do not protect your eyes from the sun's rays, but only from mechanical, biological or chemical risks, it is advisable when working outdoors to select safety goggles with UV filter. 

It is well-known that dangerous UVA solar radiation can even penetrate partially through a UV filter with a value of 380 nanometres. Sunglasses with a UV400 filter offer the highest level of protection, absorbing 100% of UV radiation. 

eye protection ppe

How to choose the right level of protection?

Work sunglasses should protect against UV radiation and glare. However, it is not true that glasses with dark lenses automatically filter out dangerous UV radiation adequately enough. Surprisingly, glasses that offer protection against UV radiation can also have transparent lenses. 

An important factor to consider when choosing protective sunglasses is light transmission. Transmission is measured in a range of 1 - 99%. The lower the transmission rate, the less light that passes through the lenses. 

UVEX pheos safety glasses anti-reflective

Our TIP: Anti-reflective coating glasses.

The anti-reflective layer is a special surface coating for eyepieces or lenses that eliminate reflective glare with 99.5% light transmission.  

Do you need advice on selecting suitable safety goggles? Our experts will be glad to help. Contact us. 

Based on the percentage of light transmitted through the lens, glasses are classified as shown in the table below. 

Category Light transmission (%)  Light conditions   
          0 80 - 100  Cloudy No glare is filtered, unsuitable for driving 
          1 43 - 80 Weak radiation  Suitable for everyday use and changing light conditions. 
          2 18 - 43 Medium radiation  Suitable for driving and general use 
          3 8 - 18 Strong radiation  Suitable for driving and general use 
          4 3 - 8 Intensive radiation  Extreme conditions, unsuitable for driving (due to low visibility) 

 

cleaning tissue for glasses

Do you know how to correctly clean protective safety goggles?

  1. Wash off course dirt under running water
  2. To clean eyepieces, use microfiber cleaning spray and wipes, or moist cleaning cloths intended for glasses. 
  3. Always put your glasses in a case when you are not wearing them. This will keep them from getting damaged. 

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